When The Well first opened in New York City a year ago, it quickly drew a crowd of urban wellness devotees ranging from startup founders to social media influencers to CEOs. The hook? The center’s focus on both Eastern and Western medicine: you could attend both a sports coaching and Ayurvedic session, see a physical therapist and an acupuncturist, go to the gym and get a massage, all under the same roof. It was the ultimate place to destress and escape the metropolitan hustle and bustle.
Now, The Well is branching out from the city to the country. On December 8, co-founders Rebecca Parekh, Sarrah Hallock, and Kane Sarhan will open their second outpost at The Mayflower Inn, the bucolic Litchfield County getaway beloved by locals and weekenders alike.
“We always knew that we would want to create a retreat-style product for The Well,” says Sarhan. “The Mayflower Inn is an institution, had just gone through a major renovation, and is located just outside of NYC, so it was a win across the board.”
Their new center’s immediate attraction is its serene surrounding: overlooking The Mayflower’s placid pond and rolling hiking hills, it’s an atmosphere that quiets the mind with the visuals alone. The Well at Mayflower Inn takes full advantage of this setting. Weather permitting, many of its treatments take place in the outdoors—you can have a Forest Craniosacral treatment under a trio of autumnal trees, or a Midnight Gong Bath on their expansive lawn.
But inside has its fair share of attractions as well. The 20,000-square-foot space has an infrared sauna, a cryotherapy chamber, a traditional hammam, as well as treatment rooms and a yoga studio. The pièce de wellness resistance is a biophilic thermal pool, a warm-water bath surrounded by over 400 flourishing plants, from fig leaves to Ficus trees. While a room like that would usually bear the unmistakable smell of chlorine and stark turquoise lighting, this one is like swimming in the middle of a greenhouse.
They’ve also completely redesigned the building they inhabit at the Mayflower, which once housed the property’s gym and spa. The goal? To make it flow with its natural surroundings. “The bones of the space were already so wonderful—our goal was just to modernize it a bit with The Well touch,” Sarhan tells Vogue. “I worked with Designer Nina Gotlieb and our resident Plant Whisperer, Luz LeStrange, to create key design features that captured the whimsical magic of the Connecticut countryside with dried herbs and flowers, tons of plants and natural knotty neutral textures.” (It’s just The Mayflower’s latest high-design overhaul—this fall, they also debuted redesigned interiors by Celerie Kemble.)
The Well at the Mayflower Inn aims to be more than a single appointment spa. (Although those are available: there’s an extensive massage and facial menu perfect for one-off bookings.) Instead, it wants to operate as a full-blown experience, one that jumpstarts lifestyle changes rather than providing temporary results. (Dr. Dylan Craig, The Well’s Director of Sports Medicine and Fitness, will be conducting on-site physical therapy treatments and movement assessments. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Lipman, M.D., will also oversee all programming.) If guests want, before arrival, they’ll be paired with a Health Coach. After a 30-minute Zoom or phone call, the Health Coach customizes what treatments, exactly, one should receive while in Litchfield. (More often than not, it’s a mixture of few things: this writer was recommended a physical therapy appointment for her shoulder, an energy healing session for her stress, and food preparation advice about how, exactly, to break her incessant Postmates habit.) They also offer multi-day health experiences which mix physical exercise (like snow-shoeing or hiking) with customized nutrition menus, a skincare cleanse, and plenty of bodywork.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s some stringent place for a strict detox: they also have a dining room, which, if one wishes, can be the perfect place to enjoy a scrumptious lunch by chef-in-residence April Bloomfield. What you order is your choice—perhaps its an oat milk smoothie, or perhaps its a plate of pâté accompanied by local chutney.
While warm-weather locales such as Arizona and California are often seen as America’s wellness destinations, New England is now emerging as a burgeoning retreat market. Earlier this year, a new Miraval Spa opened in the Berkshires, joining the nearby Canyon Ranch in Lenox. The trend comes not a moment too soon: as the COVID-19 pandemic makes cross-country journeys increasingly risky, East Coasters now need more drive-to escapes. And at just an hour and a half away from New York City, The Well fits the exact bill for a safe place that’s made to inspire rest and relaxation.